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Emily from sunlight to shade

In 1788, when Captain Phillip brought the First Fleet into Sydney Harbour he would have noticed the outcrops of sandstone at every turn. Rough and weathered, hewn by nature down to the waterline, covered in shrubs and trees unknown to him or his crews.

Emily Persson This Magnificent Life
Before We Met © Emily Persson Oil on linen 102 x 102 cm The Wentworth Galleries

Within a few decades, masons would be smoothing these easily burnished rocks into our first houses and public buildings.

Today’s Sydney has many grand sandstone structures. Some of them are now repurposed from their original use. One of our favourites is the GPO which anchors the lower and more sombre end of Martin Place.

Yes, it was the new post office for a new young city. Now a hotel towers behind its solid and sturdily golden stone facade.

Emily Persson This Magnificent Life
Emily Persson ‘Give Me Shade’ exhibition on now at the Wentworth Galleries Sydney

One ground floor corner now houses one of our favourite art galleries, which is currently hosting one of our favourite artists.

Emily Persson ‘Give Me Shade’ The Wentworth Galleries
Emily Persson This Magnificent Life
Emily Persson at the Wentworth Galleries

Emily Persson has called her 29-piece exhibition at the Wentworth Galleries ‘Give Me Shade’.

Although it is the sunlight glittering on water that stays in mind, there is a wealth of shady refuges beneath the native eucalypts where you may shelter from the scorch of December sun.

Checking the Surf © Emily Persson Oil on linen 122 x 152 cm Wentworth Galleries

Her technique involves quite bold use of the palette knife, but she still maintains a delicious delicacy, inviting you into a gentle untroubled world.

Emily Persson This Magnificent Life
© Emily Persson Flinders Headland and Single Tree Oil on linen
102 x 102 cm

Emily lives in Melbourne, and the waters from around there, especially the Mornington Peninsula, are represented.

But it is the Harbour City that really sparkles. You can glimpse modern boats and houses on some shorelines, but much of Emily’s view could be as Phillip saw it. Rugged sandstone bluffs with canopies of gum trees above the blue water.

Emily Persson This Magnificent Life
© Emily Persson Headland Love and Sparkling Water Oil on linen
38 x 38 cm

As she says in her notes: ”I invite you to experience the quiet beauty, serenity and respite that the Australian summer offers.”

Invitation accepted.

Emily Persson ’Give Me Shade’ is at the Wentworth Galleries,
1 Martin Place, Sydney, from May 25 to June 4 2023.

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Ian MacTavish

Mr MacTavish is a celebrated writer and one of Australia's more respected Wine reviewers, appearing regularly in national magazines, in print and on line. So far, he has never been heard to say 'no' to a wee dram.

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